It’s not the sort of place you would come across accidentally, it’s hidden away down a nondescript and dare I say it, questionable alleyway somewhere in Soho. But if you’re in the know about Malaysian food, you come with a purpose. We’re in the latter category, having introduced to it by friends in the know and we bypass the main Chinese strip of Chinatown and head off to for some Malaysian food instead.
There’s the traditional restaurant set up but if full, they unceremoniously dump you across the narrow alley into a second room, with a fridge and a few tables where there is a distinct lack of ambience and only other confused punters.
This is the food I know from a childhood in Malaysia & Singapore & I want to order it all! It’s been some time since my last visits to Asia and so I can’t resist a try of their Char Kuey Teow, which I remember as being done pretty well. Others order up the Laksa, Nasi Lemak, Mee Goreng and a couple of platefuls of the Roti Canai to kick things off.
The roti canai is wonderful, crisp and chewy and soft with the tangy curry going with it so beautifully. It’s labelled as a side and I suspect that is since it comes without any meats in the curry but the roti itself is quite rich so I would advise caution against thinking it really truly is a side.
There’s always a worry when you recommend a restaurant to close friends that it’s not going to live up to the hype that you’ve issued it, but luckily everyone is happy. My Char Kuey Teow is exactly as I’d hoped and although not quite as spicy as I usually like, there is Chilli oil available to take the spice up to your desired level. The Mee Goreng and Nasi Lemak are awarded full marks too but it is the Laksa that draws the most voluble of appreciative love.
Laksa is the Asian equivalent of Chicken noodle soup, to be consumed in vast quantities when you’re sad or blue, when you’re sick and when you need a comforting hug prior to tucking yourself up into a cosy bed to ward off a cold. It holds within it a mass of all sorts of goodies, fish balls that may or not actually originate from fish, coconut milk, chilli, noodles and a variety of seafoods and/or meats, all to nourish the soul. This does all those things and more.
It may not be the smartest place on the block, but it has warmed the cockles of everyone’s hearts and we leave content.
C&R Cafe can be found at 4 Rupert Court, W1D 6DY, just off Wardour St in Chinatown/ Soho. You don’t need a reservation but do be warned that you may find yourself across the alley into a bit of a different set up.